December 18, 2013
@Dick Anderson Vedic Accent
I have found that each "syllable" whether marked or not, irregardless of which method is used; or whether in Transliteration, Script, Manuscript receives a pitched (tonal) accent independent of meter. This holds true only for the Vedic. In fact, the Sama Veda has 7 pitched accent tones, this forms the basis of Classical Indian Music and Staff Notation.
The musical quality of this accentuation, enhances the memory process and is one reason why this Oral Tradition was preserved so well over centuries from generation to generation.
Sanskrit should be considered a Syllabary of 50 sounds and in the process of Vedic word formation each syllable receives a pitch whether baseline or not.
When I think of Greek Oral Tradition, I of course think of Homer and I think this would provide an interesting comparison and contrast even though apparently the dialect of Homer contains loanwords etc. from one or more other substrates.
September 22, 2013
@DickAnderson: “Vedic Sanskrit, every syllable is accented … If I'm wrong on that, please let me know.”
From Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Introduction, p.xviii; link at bottom.):
[I]nasmuch as at the time when the great Indian Grammarian [Panini] the chief authority for both Vedic and classical grammar elaborated his wonderful system, every word in Sanskrit, as much in the ordinary language as in the Vedic, had its accent, a knowledge of accents must be often indispensable to a right knowledge of the meaning of words in Sanskrit.
And in real truth the whole of Panini's grammar is interpenetrated throughout by the ruling idea of the importance of accentuation to a correct knowledge of words and their meanings.
For example, we learn from Pan. vi, I, 201, that the word ksháya means 'abode,' but kshayá with the accent on the last syllable means 'destruction.' And again, from Pan. vi, I, 205, that datta, 'given,' which as a p. participle has the accent on the second syllable (dattá) is accentuated on the first syllable (i.e. is pronounced dátta) when it is used as a proper name. On the other hand, by Pan. vi, i, 206, dhṛíshṭa has the accent on the first syllable, whether as a participle, or as a name (not dhṛishṭá at p. 519).
Further, by Pan. vi, I, 223 and vi, 2, I all compounds have different meanings according to the position of the accent. Hence Indra-ṡatru means either 'an enemy of Indra' or 'having Indra as an enemy,' according as the accent is on the last or first member of the compound (Indra-ṡatrú or Índra-ṡatru; see Additions, p. 1321). These examples may suffice to show the importance of accentuation in affecting meanings.
That this holds good in all languages is shown by the careful way in which accentuation is marked in modern English Dictionaries.
Dirk D. Anderson
June 4, 2013
I owned one of the older hardcover editions, unfortunately recently it has disappeared. For whatever reason, the issue of eyestrain was a material factor, I had to use a magnifier.
I have noticed that economical paperback editions are showing up.
I have come to appreciate the study of Grammar for its own sake. If you can read the examples in Grammars such as this, without context you are reading quite well. The more Grammar I understand and retain the better I do read.
This is a good, detailed, comprehensive, reference.
If I had to do it over again, I believe I would start with Homer, then Attic, then Biblical (Koine) Greek. Matter of fact, when time permits, I will study Homer in some depth.
Ancient Greek accent appears to be the same three pitched tones as Vedic Sanskrit. Both have Indo-European origins. Vedic Sanskrit, every syllable is accented, in Greek each word receives an accent. If I'm wrong on that, please let me know. I love these old oral traditions such as Homer, don't you?